TYPES OF DENTAL CROWNS AND COST: A COMPLETE GUIDE (2021)

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[UPDATED 2/25/21]

Dental crowns have long been a solution to restore the look and function of a damaged tooth. These tooth-shaped caps help restore your teeth and improve your smile.

When your dentist suggests you need a dental crown, two questions may come up to your mind: What type of dental crown is best for me? And, what is the cost of it?

This brief guide will help you understand the different types of dental crowns and cost.

But First, Do You Really Need a Crown?

Before looking into the different types of dental crowns and cost, how can you know for sure if you need a crown, an inlay, an onlay, or just a filling?

Types of Dental Crowns and Cost - Crown on prepared tooth

Well, after a thorough examination during your first office visit, your dentist will evaluate your particular case, and guide you on possible treatments. Generally, some of the most common causes of getting a dental crown are:

  • A weakened tooth after severe decay or cavity
  • To cover an implant
  • To replace a large filling
  • A natural tooth that is damaged or cracked
  • A tooth that has undergone a root canal (especially posterior teeth)
  • To align your bite
  • For aesthetics purposes: to achieve a more beautiful smile by leveling the size, shape, and color of your teeth.

What Does Getting a Crown Involve?

In most cases, if you need a custom-made crown, be ready to visit your dentist a couple of times. It is not something a dentist can do in only one appointment, unless he or she owns a CEREC® or similar device, which allows patients to get the crown in one visit.

Types of Dental Crowns and Cost dental professional with instruments

The process may be different for each type of dental crown, too. In general, getting a crown involves:

  • Your dentist will prepare your tooth, which can involve just the removal of decay, a root canal, or both.
  • S/he takes a mold so that the crown fits the exact shape of your tooth.
  • A temporary restoration is used to protect the tooth until the crown is ready. You should take special care of this temporary cap and avoid eating hard or sticky foods to prevent it from cracking.
  • After about a week, your dentist will have the crown ready.

What Type of Dental Crown Should I Choose? 5 Main Types

When you need a crown, you immediately start thinking about the types of dental crowns and cost. This is because today there are many different types of crowns that vary depending on materials, cost, procedures, and patients’ needs.

The main types of crowns used in dentistry include:

1. Gold crowns

Gold crowns are in fact a combination of copper and other metals, such as nickel or chromium. The main advantage of gold crowns is their strength and durability.

dental-crown-type-gold-crownFor back restorations -and depending on each patient’s needs- some dentists may suggest a gold crown as the preferred option. However, gold crowns don’t make a very popular choice today due to their color and aesthetics.

Main ADVANTAGES of gold crowns:

  • They are strong and highly resistant
  • They last a long time if properly cared for
  • Less proportion of your natural tooth needs to be removed
  • They wear down quite slowly, just like natural enamel
  • They are ideal for posterior restorations (back teeth), especially second molars

Main DISADVANTAGES of gold crowns:

  • Poor aesthetics: They obviously don’t look like a natural tooth
  • Gold alloy crowns can affect some people and produce some side effects such as allergic reactions or swelling

2. All Porcelain Crowns

This is definitely the most popular type of crown used nowadays. They are entirely made of porcelain material.

Types-of-Dental-Crowns-All-porcelain

Some ADVANTAGES are:

  • Porcelain or ceramic crowns provide the best and most natural look. They match your surrounding teeth in shape, size, and color.
  • The best option for front teeth restorations.
  • They are biocompatible: that means no metal is used, so they are toxic-free.

However, the main DISADVANTAGES of porcelain crowns are:

  • They are not as strong as metal crowns. Porcelain crowns can last a long time, but they have to be well taken care of.
  • Patients who suffer from bruxism should opt for gold of PFM
  • They may be more costly than other types of crowns, such as metal crowns.

3. Porcelain Fused-to-Metal Crowns (PFM)

Porcelain fused-to-metal (PFM) crowns are another widely used type of dental crowns. They provide both strength (due to their metal structure) and aesthetics (due to the porcelain coat that covers the cap).

Types-of-Dental-Crowns-porcelain-fused-to-metalThe main ADVANTAGES of PFM crowns are:

  • They provide great aesthetics and durability
  • They’ve been around for over 50 years. We know they work well.
  • They are less costly than all porcelain crowns

However, the DISADVANTAGES of PFMs include:

  • The metal in these crowns may cause a grey line at the gumline. This may not give the 100% aesthetic look that all porcelain crowns provide.
  • For people who clench their teeth, this type of crown may wear down more easily against the opposing teeth.

4. Zirconia Crowns

Zirconium is a relatively new material that combines the strength of metal with the aesthetics of porcelain crowns. High translucent zirconia and layered zirconia crowns have become a more popular choice lately.

types-of-crowns-zirconiaThe main ADVANTAGES of zirconia crowns are:

  • They provide great aesthetics
  • They are strong and long-lasting (less possibilities of chipping or breaking).
  • The process can be less time consuming because zirconia can be cut and shaped at the same dental office. There’s no need to send them over to a dental lab.
  • Zirconia Crowns are less likely to wear down due to their strength.
  • They are biocompatible: as metal free crowns, they are not likely to cause allergic reactions.

The main DISADVANTAGES of Zirconia Crowns include:

  • Their strength can make the teeth they bite against wear down easily.
  • Solid Zirconia can be difficult to adjust

5. E- MAX: Lithium Disilicate Crowns

dental-crown-type-emaxThe newest type of crown in dentistry today is known as E -Max. It is a type of all-ceramic crown made of lithium disilicate (which is also light and thin).

The main ADVANTAGES of E-max crowns are:

  • Great aesthetics. They look great in your mouth.
  • They can be durable and very strong.
  • They provide a great choice both for front and back teeth.

The main DISADVANTAGES of E-Max Crowns include:

  • They could be more expensive, especially to the dentist (who may or may not transfer that cost to you)
  • Some dental professionals have reported failures using E-Max for posterior teeth, especially when doing multiple units.

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